Our neighbors have a very large dog. He’s a nice dog, but when they entertain, they put him outside and he barks, loudly and continually to be let back in, often for two or three hours at a time. This is annoying, but it went beyond annoying last weekend. They had guests and so did we, but our group was outside, in our yard. We could hardly hear each other because he never stopped barking. We finally moved inside, it was so unpleasant. This upset our plans for an outdoor party. Could we have gone over and asked them to let the dog in?

Yes, because they directly intruded on you and your property and ignored good neighbor thoughtfulness. Asking them nicely would not have been incorrect. After all, you could have called the police and filed a noise complaint, but a first step of hoping they would realize their responsibility would have been courteous. Since you let it go this time, you still can speak with them about the problem, and should. They might not be aware of how upsetting hours of barking are to you, and presumably to other neighbors, and need to figure out a better way to separate the dog from their guests without destroying your sense of peace and tranquility. It is their problem and they need to deal with it and stop infringing on you, whether you have guests, or not.

We took flowers to a cocktail party, as a little hostess gift, and the hostess left them lying on a counter and never put them out. We were a little upset. Were we wrong to do this?

No, flowers are a thoughtful gift, but you should take them already in a vase, or ask for a vase so you can help by putting them in water yourself. Most hostesses are busy greeting guests, dealing with food and drinks, and making sure everyone is comfortable. They don’t have time to screech to a halt and arrange flowers. Your flowers being abandoned was not meant as a slight – it just meant your hostess couldn’t deal with them right then.

I have a couple of “friends” on social media who are using it, daily, as a platform to push for their preferred candidate, in a fairly offensive way. I am tempted to reply but don’t really find this to be a forum for discussion or argument, so have tried to ignore them, but they are relentless. How do I handle this?

You can either block their posts until after the election, or even “unfriend” them. They are not notified that you have done this, but it would give you some relief, since their posts are obviously bothering you, and since you are not interested in responding to their statements. You are correct that a public forum is not the place to try to bully others into voting your way, or to engage in a heated exchange with those whose opinions differ from yours.

Questions for Catherine? Send them to michaels.catherine@yahoo.com